Gap Year Program in Tennessee
Information Packet

Gap Year program for high school graduates ages 18-24

2024/25 term begins September 1, 2024

What is a Gap Year Program?

A gap year program may be defined as, “A semester or year of experiential learning, typically taken after high school and prior to career or post-secondary education, in order to deepen one’s practical, professional, and personal awareness.” (Gap Year Association)

Exponential is a Bible-based gap year program designed to help you discover your abilities and passions while building a Biblical foundation for your faith.

This nine-month, residential learning experience combines outdoor adventure activities and training with teaching of foundational elements of the Christian worldview.

Studies have shown that 66% of believers will stray from their faith during college. Exponential will help you be one of those who don’t!  As you learn to defend your faith, you will also develop character and leadership skills. Upon completing Exponential, you are encouraged to apply for a three-month extension as staff at Adventure Quest summer camps where you will use what you’ve learned.

three people linking arms to cross rapid river

“The way that Jesus taught was through discipleship: living life with one another, teaching, and mentoring with multiple people – iron sharpening iron – to make them an effective weapon for Christ. In this day and age, there’s nowhere that I’ve seen, that I’ve found, that I’ve even been offered, to do discipleship like it’s done here at Doe River.” ~ Peyton, 2016

girl sitting on big rock in river readingWhat is Exponential?

Exponential is a one-year intensive residential training experience which roots college-age students in the firm foundation of God’s Word, equips them for a life of personal success, and inspires them with a passion for the Kingdom. The mission of Exponential is to enable each student to “Live a life worthy of the calling [they] have received” (Ephesians 4:1) through helping them discover their identity in Christ, their gifts and talents, and the calling God has placed on their life.

While in Exponential, you can expect to:

Become Rooted in Your Faith

Imagine a wilting tree. Pitifully, its branches droop to the ground. You can’t even tell what kind of tree it is; there is no fruit, and its leaves are withered and brown. Now, imagine a vibrant tree, full of life. Its strong branches reach for the sky; its leaves glow in the sunlight; colorful, appealing fruit hangs from its limbs. It gives shade and pleasure, and it is a nest for the birds and small animals.

In Psalm 1, David compares a person who loves the Scriptures and yearns to grow to a beautiful, healthy tree. But his delight is in the Law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, yielding its fruit in season, whose leaf does not wither, and who prospers in all he does. (Psalm 1:2-3) How can we become this kind of vibrant, growing, fruitful believer?

Exponential’s main goal is to root you in your faith. A tree without roots cannot produce fruit, and we cannot hope to grow tall and strong and beautiful in our faith if we have not planted our roots firmly in Jesus. Spiritual growth takes a lot of effort, but what rewards there are for the person who commits to growth!

In Exponential, you will be taught self-discipline, experience true community, and be fed and watered and pruned as you grow into a person who is firmly rooted in the Word of God and a relationship with your Savior. Through the study of God’s word, time alone with God, living with a community of believers, corporate worship, and personal mentoring, you will experience exponential spiritual growth. You will know what you believe and be able to defend your faith in this modern-day atmosphere of doubt, uncertainty, and turmoil. Living in a community with other growing, like-minded believers will give you the opportunity to develop lifelong, supportive friendships. You will also learn how to keep short accounts, deal with conflict, forgive, and accept forgiveness.

Optional College Credit

Doe River Gorge Exponential is pleased to associate with Bryan College, Dayton, Tennessee.  Up to 11 college credits and a $1000-per-year undergraduate scholarship may be received for completion of the Exponential program.

Note that this scholarship will be available to students who have completed Exponential even if that student did not opt for Bryan College credit when originally participating in Exponential.  In order to be eligible for this scholarship, Exponential students must apply to Bryan College within 24 months of completing Exponential.

Bryan College logo

Exponential Course

Corresponding Bryan Course

Credit Hours

Survey of the Old Testament

Old Testament Lit. & Interpretation

3 hrs

Survey of the New Testament

New Testament Lit. & Interpretation

3 hrs

Worldview & Apologetics

Critical Survey of Worldviews

3 hrs

Science and the Bible

Science Foundations

2 hrs

Eligibility Requirements

  • Belief in Jesus Christ as Savior
  • Desire to pursue a lifestyle consistent with Christian principles
  • Completed High School
  • Between age 18 and 24
  • Unmarried
  • Good physical health

Applicants agree to:

  • Live at Doe River Gorge in dormitory housing
  • Provide proof of medical insurance
  • Work with your team to create a menu and prepare your meals
  • Travel internationally (valid passport required)
  • Agree to the Doe River Gorge Statement of Faith.

Apply for 2024-2025

Exponential Coursework

The Exponential gap year is not college, a job, or a vacation, but it includes elements of all these things.  Classroom instruction is more casual and interactive, covering a sequence of topics to prepare a young person for a life serving Christ.  Training in Bible and logic teaches one how to think and evaluate information biblically.  Training in apologetics, worldview and creation science provides confidence in defending the Christian faith from any angle.  An emphasis of the DRG Exponential program is outdoor adventure and education.  The natural beauty and recreational opportunities of the camp’s 300 acres, river and surrounding mountains will contribute to a unique program of learning, physical challenges and spiritual growth

Course Descriptions

Search for Significance

Learn how to be free to enjoy Christ’s love while no longer basing your self-worth on your accomplishments or the opinions of others. You are Deeply Loved, Completely Forgiven, Fully Pleasing, Totally Accepted, & Complete…In Christ!

Authority of Scripture

This section is intended to give confidence in the Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Subjects include: How and why was the biblical canon set in the early church? How confident are we that we have what the original writers wrote? What historical and archeological evidence is there that the recorded events actually happened?

Introductory Logic

Logic is the study of the principles of correct reasoning. To be logical is to think rightly, and to draw reasonable conclusions from the available information. Why does logic matter, and who decides what is the “right” way to think? If two people disagree on whether something is reasonable, who is correct? What is the standard by which we judge a particular line of reasoning to be correct or incorrect? In the Christian worldview, we can answer these questions because we know that God determines the correct way to reason. He is the standard for all truth claims. In this class you will learn about logic and the Christian worldview, the Biblical basis for the laws of logic, if faith is contrary to reason, informal logical fallacies, and more.

Survey of the Old Testament

The first semester course is an exploration of the Old Testament and its central themes, particularly in relation to God’s relationship of covenant making with his people. God is king over all creation who has created humanity to have a relationship with him and to extend his reign throughout the entire earth. By entering into covenants, God makes promises to his people and calls them to be faithful to him. Since God has created humankind in his image for fellowship with him, there is consistent reference to the terms of that relationship. God is presented as holy, loving, and sovereign, while people are presented as responsible for loving God, loving their neighbor, and caring for all that God has created.

Worldview and Apologetics

Worldview and Apologetics combines uncovering the nuts and bolts of competing worldviews and world religions with practical instruction in defending the Christian worldview. A primary theme in the study is the uniqueness of the Christian worldview in providing explanation of the human condition and the reality of hope for meaning through life in Christ. The course will highlight the inconsistencies inherent in all non-Christian worldviews while emphasizing the completeness and consistency of Biblical Christianity. Further, application will be made in apologetics by teaching the student to effectively communicate the gospel to the unbeliever.

Science and the Bible

The lessons in the Science and the Bible curriculum are chosen to enable Christian young people to defend their faith and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. The focus is on providing answers to questions surrounding the book of Genesis, as it is the most-attacked book of the Bible. What we believe about origins has consequences. Genesis is relevant to culture, faith, and the whole story of redemption–it is true from the very first verse. The evidence of nature and the proper application of historical and experimental science fully support the straightforward reading of Genesis. In the area of geology and paleontology, the evidence of sedimentary rock layers and fossils provide clear evidence of the Biblical Flood and disprove evolution. Teaching will also include lessons on astronomy, biology, origin of life, dinosaurs, The Ark, molecular biology, anatomy, genetics, radiometric dating and archeology. A field trip to the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter in Kentucky is also planned.

Survey of the New Testament

This second semester is an exploration of the New Testament, with an emphasis on the establishment of the new covenant through Jesus Christ. Jesus, fully God, became a human being and came in fulfillment prophecy to reign over His kingdom, to bring the good news of salvation, and to establish His church. Emphasis will be placed on the benefits of and life in the new covenant, and how it serves to fulfill and extend the old covenant.

Life Vision

Introduce and explore the areas needed for young adults to understand and evaluate how God created each of them. in this class, we will discover each studets inate passions as well as compassionately seeing the broken world around them. This class includes an in depth study of Ephesians 4 and Paul’s understanding of the unique call on the life of the believer.

Outdoor Education

The objective for the Outdoor Education class series will be for students to learn topics ranging from survival skills to animal husbandry. The students will then be given targeted opportunities to put these skills into practical use. In the survival skills section, students will put their skills to the test in multiple outdoor adventures. Then they will learn how to teach these skills to other students that come through the Outdoor Education program. Next, in the environmental studies section, students will learn to teach classes on the many amazing things that God created such as Decomposition and Ecosystems. Finally, the students will have the opportunity to work with live exotic animals that are used in DRG’s Talk with Animals class.

Exponential is a gap year experience that includes:

Experiential and classroom training
Ministry experience
Meal preparation
Personal study
Free time and group instruction
Activity Instructor
Retail sales
Food service
Teaching outdoor education


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